Marvel: ‘What If?’ Episode 4-6 Review

Screenshot of zombie Tony Stark from episode five of ‘What If?’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Productions.

Hey! Hallie here!

Alright! We have three more episodes and that means another review of ‘What If?’! This review is going to be a bit more negative than the others. To be honest, some of the concepts explored in these episodes weren’t my thing. And some of these episodes have parts that I genuinely feel are worth criticizing. It’s not all bad though! There are definitely positive things worth pointing out in each episode. And some things that I feel are definitely going to come into play as this series continues. I can’t say much up here without getting into SPOILERS, so this is your warning. Let’s get right into these reviews!

Episode 4- ‘What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?’:

Why? Why did they do this concept? This episode is problematic right from the beginning. It decides to explore a parallel universe in which Christine was fridged for the sake of Stephen Strange’s development. As if we didn’t see countless women expressing how horrible fridging Black Widow, and other characters, in regular canon was. There are plenty of events they could have come up with to corrupt Stephen Strange. Stephen isn’t even all that great a guy, especially at the beginning of his movie. He still has a lot of development to go before he can be the hero we all know he can be. So I refuse to believe that they couldn’t have come up with literally any other reason for him to misuse his magical abilities. Pushing that aside, there isn’t much episode left to go off of. Stephen turns away from the teachings of the Ancient One and instead goes to a temple to study darker magical abilities on his own. From there we get a montage of Stephen battling multiple dark creatures and consuming them for power. At one point he even consumes the giant tentacle monster that attacked Peggy in the first episode of this series. And then he notices The Watcher. This was the most interesting part of the entire episode, in my opinion. The Watcher seems to be slowly revealing himself more and more. He even talks to Stephen about his decision to essentially destroy the world in his efforts to get Christine back, revealing that he can’t interfere in any timeline. Predictably, this episode ends badly. Stephen kills an alternate version of himself that actually got over Christine, Christine becomes terrified of what Stephen has become, and the universe is destroyed. Really, The Watcher is the main part of this episode I liked. That and the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and Tilda Swinton.

Episode 5- ‘What If… Zombies?!’

This one was extremely dark, but a ton of people enjoyed it. As someone who isn’t generally a fan of horror concepts, it made me uncomfortable. But it was by no means poorly done! Mostly. This episode follows a group of Avengers as they try to navigate the zombie apocalypse after other Avengers have become zombies. Yeah, I can’t imagine the world surviving super-powered zombies. The group of non-zombie Avengers consist of Bruce Banner, Hope van Dyne, Sharon Carter, Bucky Barnes, Happy Hogan, Kurt (From ‘Ant Man’), Peter Parker, and Okoye as leader. As she should be. In any case, Peter Parker is way too excited about the zombie apocalypse. He even makes an upbeat video on how to survive it. The star of this video is Happy, who’s wearing a ‘I’m Not Single, I’m Saving Myself For Thor’ shirt. They also catch Bucky without clothes in the shower to give all those Bucky fans some fan service. Of the group of survivors, Sharon is one of the first to die at the hands of the Steve Rogers zombie and they make a really weird joke about her remains getting all over Hope. It wasn’t very funny, especially since Sharon never gets good writing in anything. Eventually the group finds a safe haven with Vision. Until they discover that Vision’s love for Wanda has caused him to take captive various people and feed them to the Wanda zombie. T’Challa is one of those snacks and he only has one leg to prove it. Also, Scott Lang is just a head. I actually liked this tragic exploration of Wanda and Vision’s relationship regardless of how messed up it is. Vision refused to leave her up until his death and the Wanda zombie mourned Vision after Vision tore out the mind stone to help reverse the effects of the zombie apocalypse. In the end, only Peter Parker, T’Challa, and Scott Lang’s head survive with the hope that everyone who has become a zombie will change back. All the women in this group of Avengers die, but I suppose I have less to complain about here after episode four.

Episode 6- ‘What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?’:

This episode is just full of disappointment and untapped potential. When Marvel fans saw this concept was going to be covered, the fan base seemed really excited. Having Tony join up with Killmonger not only implied that we’d see a corrupted Tony storyline, but also that we’d see Killmonger and Tony as extremely terrifying and powerful villains. That’s not what we got. This episode is about Killmonger alone. And Killmonger kills Tony only halfway through the episode to prove it. Killmonger saves Tony’s life to worm his way into Stark industries. With Tony having not learned his lesson after nearly being killed by his own weapons, he agrees to help Killmonger retrieve some Vibranium and create a metallic army of mass destruction. Also, Killmonger kills Rhodey and T’Challa because murder. His murder of Rhodey is caught by JARVIS and Tony decides to trap himself in an enclosed space with a capable killer and no means of protection. Instead, he gets one of his metallic weapons to attack Killmonger. Makes sense. Of course, Killmonger takes that and Tony down in no time at all. I liked the moment where Tony tells Killmonger that he thought their orphaned state and devotion to their fathers made them the same. Tony clearly can’t see past his privilege, and Killmonger calls him out on that before killing him, solidifying that Tony’s ignorance was his doom. Killmonger uses his influence given by Tony, as well as a giant ploy using the army he built with Tony, to get in Wakanda’s good graces and claim the Black Panther title. At which point, at the very end of the episode, the most interesting thing in the whole thing happens. Shuri goes to Pepper, who’s been suspicious of Killmonger the whole time, and proposes they team up against him. I would have rather seen that episode. Also, we got to see the full appearance of The Watcher in this one! I wonder if his clearer appearance indicates he might actually attempt to interfere soon.

That’s it for this group of episodes! I wasn’t really impressed this time around. I liked certain story beats, and it’s always a pleasure to hear the original actors voicing the majority of the characters, but there were a lot of mistakes made in these three. The women present didn’t get any of the respect or storylines they deserved. Some of the concepts didn’t deliver the intrigue they promised. And I had to see Scott Lang as a head in a jar. But I’m a sucker for anything that covers Wanda and Vision’s relationship, so at least that made up for some of it.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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